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Author Topic: Opera Quest - failed opportunity  (Read 371 times)

Opera Quest - failed opportunity
« on: 21 Apr 2021, 08:31 »
I happened to read about that a Norwegian philharmonic orchestra National Opera had made a point and click adventure game on their pages: Opera Quest.

It's at https://www.operaquest.no if anyone wants to take a look.

Out of curiousity, I checked it out, and was disappointed that there is very little game content. It's more of an interactive educational tool than a game. To proceed, you have to click on stuff in the correct order, and then you receive information about how an opera is made and what the different people in a production actually do. This may or may not be interesting, but I find it unfortunate that they didn't include any puzzles or anything challenging for the "player". It seems like a game made without any input from people who actually play games. It looks good, so I have to conclude that this is somewhat of a failed opportunity. The basic idea seems good, though.
« Last Edit: 21 Apr 2021, 12:08 by heltenjon »

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Re: Opera Quest - failed opportunity
« Reply #1 on: 21 Apr 2021, 09:22 »
I don't think it is fair to call it a point and click adventure, the game calls itself an interactive storybook.

But out of curiousity, how, specifically, would you have changed it? You mention adding puzzles and challenges, but how would you fit that into the goal of teaching people about how an opera is made? Taking all the information that the game wished to pass on, how would you pass it on differently? Would the director asking the conductor for the key to his cupboard to get his stage plans to give to the architects really be the best way in this case?

A silly and intrusive request, but would you care to draw up a short design doc/puzzle doc/script about how you'd go about it?
It could even be a bit of a different ruleset for a future MAGS...basically make a better implementation of that game.
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Re: Opera Quest - failed opportunity
« Reply #2 on: 21 Apr 2021, 10:26 »
The problem with edutainment is that it's rarely entertaining, and only somewhat educational.

I remember playing this educational game about classical music years ago: https://www.mobygames.com/game/opera-fatal

As someone who liked both adventure games and classical music, I enjoyed it, although I remember it having several issues. And the game page says that it was "made with Quicktime VR and Macromedia technologies", so good luck running it today...  (laugh)

Re: Opera Quest - failed opportunity
« Reply #3 on: 21 Apr 2021, 10:42 »
I don't think it is fair to call it a point and click adventure, the game calls itself an interactive storybook.

Fair point. I guess I was disappointed because it was described differently in the newspaper, and I was curious about how they would do it.

Quote
But out of curiousity, how, specifically, would you have changed it? You mention adding puzzles and challenges, but how would you fit that into the goal of teaching people about how an opera is made? Taking all the information that the game wished to pass on, how would you pass it on differently? Would the director asking the conductor for the key to his cupboard to get his stage plans to give to the architects really be the best way in this case?

I think one would have to first pass on the information, and then let the player use it in some fashion. I agree that key puzzles wouldn't further the goal of information flow. There are probably many ways to do it, not all relying on point and click gameplay. The easiest way is a sort of "Test yourself" quiz after reading the information. Another option could be through task management - how to do this on budget/with limited action points - more in the vein of a strategy game, perhaps. A third easy way out, would be adding a "Grow" type of gameplay where the player simply chooses which order to do things in, giving more or less satisfying results.

I've played games in museums before that works well in the context of using information given. I remember in an oil museum, I had to balance funds and choose where and how to look for oil, how deep to drill and ultimately make use of information found in the exhibit.

In order to make it a point and click AND give out the info through gameplay, perhaps the best solution would be to have a low difficulty level so that kids could breeze through it (and learn at the same time). A minimum of change to the current game could perhaps be that the player could click on the objects to perform the correct task themselves after the current tutorial. Writing this, I realize that I was probably disappointed because I felt that I was going through a tutorial phase with nothing afterwards.

Quote
silly and intrusive request, but would you care to draw up a short design doc/puzzle doc/script about how you'd go about it?
It could even be a bit of a different ruleset for a future MAGS...basically make a better implementation of that game.

Heheh...I feel the request is a bit in the vein of telling me not to criticize unless I can do better myself. I probably am not the best qualified to do this, so any ideas in this thread are welcome - that's basically what I wanted to discuss.

But okay - one idea I had was to start out without other verb actions than walk and look. Then, after reading/discovering stuff to do, the player gets new actions available  to perform, maybe looking like a musical score, a telephone etc. The order of discovering things is not set, but the order of doing stuff has to be logical. There're still no puzzles in that design, but they could be added...depends on how easy the game ought to be.

I'll have to think a bit more about it. Feel free to add to the discussion.

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Re: Opera Quest - failed opportunity
« Reply #4 on: 22 Apr 2021, 19:53 »
I think it is really cute. I don't think it requires puzzles, I only wish I could select/inspect the different items more freely (i.e. in which order) and more than once (I accidentally clicked too fast and couldn't "replay" that section).

I also played Opera Fatal as a kid/teen. I thought it was really cool, the graphics were impressive for me at that time.
It was a nice mix of puzzles and learning. There was some in-game library where you could learn about opera and classical music, music theory, instruments,... and some of the knowledge was required for some puzzles.

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Re: Opera Quest - failed opportunity
« Reply #5 on: 22 Apr 2021, 20:08 »
I remember in an oil museum, I had to balance funds and choose where and how to look for oil, how deep to drill and ultimately make use of information found in the exhibit.

Just for curiosity, do you remember where/which museum this was?

Re: Opera Quest - failed opportunity
« Reply #6 on: 23 Apr 2021, 02:38 »
I remember in an oil museum, I had to balance funds and choose where and how to look for oil, how deep to drill and ultimately make use of information found in the exhibit.

Just for curiosity, do you remember where/which museum this was?

Yes, it's The Norwegian Petroleum Museum in Stavanger, Norway. My visit there was many years ago, though.

I think it is really cute. I don't think it requires puzzles, I only wish I could select/inspect the different items more freely (i.e. in which order) and more than once (I accidentally clicked too fast and couldn't "replay" that section).

Agreed, this would also be an improvement. Perhaps I'm being too harsh - I just really wanted this to be good.

Quote
I also played Opera Fatal as a kid/teen. I thought it was really cool, the graphics were impressive for me at that time.
It was a nice mix of puzzles and learning. There was some in-game library where you could learn about opera and classical music, music theory, instruments,... and some of the knowledge was required for some puzzles.

I'm going to have to try this one now.  ;-D

Re: Opera Quest - failed opportunity
« Reply #7 on: 24 Apr 2021, 16:44 »
I also played Opera Fatal as a kid/teen. I thought it was really cool, the graphics were impressive for me at that time.
It was a nice mix of puzzles and learning. There was some in-game library where you could learn about opera and classical music, music theory, instruments,... and some of the knowledge was required for some puzzles.
I have fond memories of it! There was plenty of exploration and many music-related puzzles. I, too, remember the library with books on several aspects of music.
I think it was a well-done educational game: you did have to learn something to proceed, but it was fun to do so.